from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The provisions of the federal Affordable Health Care Act will not be fully in place before 2014. Currently in place, however, are provisions that allow dependents to stay on their parents' policy until age 26, coverage for children with pre-existing conditions and preventative services for seniors without co-pays.
Another change calls for an end to cutting-off services when enrollees become seriously ill. Legislative Committee Chair Dick Mason with Health Action New Mexico points out other ways New Mexicans benefit.
"In 2010, there was funding for community-based health care centers. There's (sic) 133 of those in New Mexico. There was also funding for school-based health care centers. There are 81 of those in New Mexico."
The Affordable Care Act re-authorized the Children's Health Insurance Program through 2015. In addition, it re-authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, making previously uncovered services available at no additional cost to New Mexico taxpayers.
Dr. Dan Derksen, director of the New Mexico Office of Health Care Reform, says the state strenuously opposes a federally established insurance exchange. He admits that it is not yet clear what the government plans to do and has stated that many people believe it will offer a one-size-fits-all program.
Derksen favors the advantages of a state-based insurance exchange, instead.
"I believe that doing a state-based exchange will offer people more choices. It won't force them to buy things that they don't really want or need. It will give them more providers. It will give them more choices in the type of cost-sharing that they want to do."
In reference to cost-sharing, Derksen points out that the state-based exchange might allow a high-deductible plan or other options to help enrollees save money. He says the state's Office of Health Care Reform wants to be sure that the New Mexico state-based exchange is built on the fundamental principles of real consumer choices.
Renee Blake reporting, firstname.lastname@example.org